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The ethic of ego & empathy

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  • Siobhan
    I agree that we are pre-fabricated by our environment and that it s difficult to modify our personalities once cast, but our cognitive facility is always
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2005
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      I agree that we are pre-fabricated by our environment and that it's
      difficult to modify our personalities once cast, but our cognitive
      facility is always present and capable of engendering empathy and
      problem solving. Human beings are egotistic, selves distinguished
      from others, each a conscious organized mediator between person and
      reality. The fiction, indeed story, of each self should encourage
      cooperation and compassion in personal and political interactions.
      However, once we analyze and empathize, there remains the problem of
      what we do, especially with others who can't by reason of extreme
      difference (pathology?) Do we remain stuck in the paralysis of
      empathy, a perpetual reactive response, or do we step out and
      maturely move forward? There is a horrible responsibility within the
      constant contingencies of our world. It seems that a more mature
      perspective is found in the quietly persuasive ego, not the harassing
      or proselytizing approach that characterizes the gang mentality, the
      terrorist, the stalker, or the ultra-nationalist or theocrat. There
      is an exigency for progress in the world where egos can run amuck and
      murder is a solution. We must deal with the technologies of known and
      unknown WMD, AND we must protect the genius and unique among us. The
      traditional approach of ego collecting must give way to ego
      protection and recognition. Which personality creates an environment
      for cherishing the unique, for enabling a welcome anomaly? There is
      no doubt that ego, healthy or malignant, can prevent progress-
      evolution. There is a great need for warriors to unite behind the
      good cause. Should we give up, surrender to a nihilistic perspective;
      join political movements to suppress and control; or anticipate and
      defend against the virulent ego? Conscious intent trumps the mutant
      majority. This isn't a cruel perspective but a realistic and
      progressive call to ethical activism. The ethic which respects others
      but refuses to join them if they're headed over the cliff? That's
      compassion. That's leadership. Sartre, Camus and many others were
      deeply influenced by the discipline of psychology and always
      encouraged the on-going resolution of self and others. More than
      anything, they were activists. Yes, we can understand the forces
      which shaped the Hitlers, bin Ladens, and Mao's of the world, but we
      can't allow their revolutionary strategies to wipe out en masse
      potential genius or anomaly because 'their' people can't accept their
      immature, egotistical `solutions'. We need new ways to prevent
      dictators in our homes and communities besides violence. How do we
      get there? By allowing unique, creative or new thought, not by the
      tried and failed perspectives of nihilism, revolution, or
      monotheistic patriarchal fantasies.

      Siobhan
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